4 Energy Efficient Window Styles to Cut Your Utility Bill
Windows come in a variety of different types of frames to offer the maximum amount of energy efficiency. By combining a specific application with an energy efficient frame tailored to meet the demands of your climate, you can literally customize every window in your home.
Window Frame Types
Enhancing the thermal resistance of the window frame itself can greatly affect a window's general energy efficiency, especially its U-factor. There are many pros and cons regarding all types of window frame materials. Vinyl, fiberglass, wood, and a few composite materials offer more thermal resistance overall than metal or aluminum. Here's a list of different window frames and how each one relates to energy efficiency.
1. Wood Frames
Window frames made of wood insulate fairly well. However, they do respond to certain weather conditions by expanding and contracting. Wood frames also require maintenance on a regular basis, although vinyl or aluminum cladding decreases this.
2. Vinyl Frames
Vinyl window frames usually consist of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) with UV (ultraviolet light) stabilizers in order to keep the harsh rays of the sun from breaking down the material. Vinyl frames from places like All-West Glass Edmonton Ltd. have great moisture resistance and never need painting. The empty cavities of the frames can be stuffed with insulation making them superior to standard wood frames in terms of thermal resistance.
3. Composite Frames
Composite-type window frames are made from composite wood products, including LSL (laminated strand lumber) and particleboard. They're generally very stable and have the same or even better thermal and structural properties as traditional wood in addition to better decay and moisture resistance.
4. Metal or Aluminum Frames
Although they are light, strong, and virtually maintenance free, aluminum or metal window frames tend to conduct heat rather quickly making them an extremely poor material for good insulation. In order to diminish the U-factor and heat flow, metal frames need a thermal break, which consists of installing a plastic insulating strip between the outside and inside of the sash and frame.
Energy-efficiency vs. Price
Unfortunately, the most energy efficient windows available are typically the most expensive. It's not absolutely necessary to purchase the most expensive, high-end product in order to save money on your utility bill or even improve your home's visual appeal. Thanks to the Energy Star label found on many products today, it will inform you how well a specific window will perform relative to your particular climate.
Before you purchase a window regardless of the type, always check the Energy Star label for maximum efficiency and cost savings overall.